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What Is the HIPEC Procedure?

HIPEC surgery removes the microscopic cancer cells that spread across an area affected by cancer, which can allow for the tumor to grow again. 

The idea behind the HIPEC procedure, or hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion, is to neutralize any cancer cells that remain after surgery. Surgeons use a heated saline solution that includes chemotherapy medication and applies it to the open abdominal area to reach any stray cancer cells. The Dignity Health Cancer Institute of Greater Sacramento specializes in this rare procedure. 

What Are the Benefits of the HIPEC Procedure? 

The HIPEC procedure offers many benefits compared to the typical combination of surgery and either oral or IV chemotherapy, including:

  • A reduction in cancer recurrence risk. Since this procedure works to remove all visible and microscopic cancer cells, there’s a smaller risk of the tumor growing back. 
  • Fewer side effects. Chemotherapy can result in uncomfortable side effects, but since this procedure focuses it in one area of the body, patients are less likely to experience these adverse effects. Therefore, surgeons can apply a larger or more concentrated dose. 

Who Is a Candidate for the HIPEC Procedure? 

You might be a candidate for the HIPEC procedure if:

  • You have stage IV cancer. 
  • Your cancer is in the lining of an abdominal organ. This can include primary colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, appendiceal cancer, mesothelioma, and peritoneal carcinomatosis. 
  • You don’t have any disease in other parts of the body. 
  • You have limited to no cancer metastases. 

Ask your oncologist if you might be a candidate for cytoreductive surgery and the HIPEC procedure.